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Gardener's Diary 

                              July 2009


Garden Chafer BeetleFrom early June onwards our neighbourhood was inundated with garden chafer beetles - see photo on the left. 

*Chafer Beetles lay their eggs in grass or turf in the early summer, these eggs then develop into Chafer grubs which can cause significant damage from Autumn to Spring when the larvae have become fully grown. The Grubs are white with a brown head. These grubs are usually present from early August and can be treated with nematodes from early August to early October.

Chafer Beetle grubs, if they are left un-treated, can cause severe damage to lawns and will then overwinter deeper in the soil, ready to cause more damage the following spring. They cause lawns to develop yellow patches where the roots have been eaten by the grubs of the Chafer Beetles. In severe cases the roots are completely destroyed and the turf can be pulled up easily to reveal no roots! Secondary damage from birds and animals is just as destructive, as they often dig up lawns looking for the grubs to eat.

Chafer Grub Killer is harmless to children and pets plus there is no chemical alternative.

Product should only be applied from late July to early October when the young grubs are active and the soil temperature is above 12C.*

*From Thompson & Morgan


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..

Jobs for the month in the kitchen garden..


The harvest has begun in earnest now, with all manner of vegetables becoming ready for the table.

  • broad beansCommence picking broad beans when they are just 2 to 3 inches long and they can be cooked and eaten whole; peas need to be picked frequently when young, which will encourage the plants to produce more flowers and thereby prolong the picking season.
  • We have been eating spinach for a couple of weeks now, we just cut the leaves off with scissors and the plants continue to produce new leaves throughout the summer.
  • Lettuce and spring cabbage are cut off with a sharp knife and the stalk is left in the ground to produce another plant from the same root.
  • Radishes and carrots can still be sown, but be sure to water well if the weather is dry (some hope!)
  • heart shaped new potatoEarly potatoes are ready to be lifted this month and should be stored in paper or hessian sacks in a cool, dry place. (See our heart-shaped new spud on the right!)
  • The first of the runner beans can usually be picked towards the end of the month, again pick frequently when small to prolong the season.
  • Our tomatoes now have five trusses set and we will take out the growing tip when we get to six, at which time we will commence feeding the plants with a liquid fertilizer twice a week.
  • In between enjoying the fruits of your labours, continue watering and hoeing to keep the weeds under control and be continually vigilant for pests, which can reduce your crop (and your morale) demonstrably!


  • The strawberries are now ripening faster than we can eat them (well nearly). I have cut the runners off and discarded them this year, as the plants are only one year old and will produce a full crop again next year.
  • The gooseberry bushes have produced a good crop, most of which has already be turned into jam, but with a few set aside for a pie later this week! The bushes themselves have been pruned back to three leaves on all the new side shoots and any old wood has been cut out from the centre of the bushes to allow for good ventilation, which protects against mildew.
  • We are continuing to tie in the new canes on the blackberry and the loganberry plants, which will produce fruit next year. They are planted against a freestanding trellis to allow for very easy picking from both sides; when the old canes have fruited this year they will be cut down to ground level and composted.
  • Our blueberries are looking good and will be harvested towards the end of July, but the jury is still out on our raspberries as to whether there will be enough for a dessert! Maybe next year…..


The Ornamental Garden


New lawns sown or turfed in spring are now mature enough to be given a dose of weedkiller if necessary, but do take care to get the correct dosage. If you decide to use a spot weedkiller on your lawn to kill an occasional weed, make sure it is one that is suitable for killing weeds in lawns.. See my opening paragraph about Garden Chafer Beetles..


Mulch newly planted hedges and water during dry periods. Trim conifer and privet hedges to a wedge shape, wide at the base, tapering to the top.


Dead-head regularly to promote new flower buds and mulch the area around the roses with grass cuttings, bark or other material that will help to keep the moisture in. Tie in new growth of climbing roses to prevent strong winds snapping it off.

Herbaceous plants

lilySupport tall growing plants with twiggy sticks or canes.
Remove faded flowers from all plants including bedding plants, to encourage new growth. Hoe around the plants to remove weeds and freshen up the borders.
When your bearded Irises have finished flowering, lift them, divide them, keeping only the strongest rhizomes and cut the foliage straight across, leaving it about 4" long. Then replant them, all facing the same way, in the sunniest part of the border.

Ponds and water features

As it is fish spawning season make sure your pond is well oxygenated.. Continue topping up water levels if they drop and remove blanket weed with care if fish are spawning and other wildlife might be caught up in it..




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Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



RHS gardens


Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-

Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new, and special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



The Eden Project


The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...




Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-


"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

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